Fear of crime in gated communities and apartment buildings: a comparison of housing types and a test of theories
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- Vilalta, C.J. J Hous and the Built Environ (2011) 26: 107. doi:10.1007/s10901-011-9211-3
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Dramatic increases in crime and fear of crime in Mexico have encouraged interest in research questions about the relationship of fear with new housing developments. We have seen increases in the number of gated communities and apartment buildings in Mexico City as a response to fear of crime. But there are two problems. First, it is not known if these housing options actually help control fear of crime. Second, fear of crime theories are pending further empirical testing worldwide. The end results include general misunderstanding and weak connections between theory and reality. This study shows that neither gated communities nor apartment buildings seem to provide lower levels of fear of crime when home alone. This statement was verified through non-parametric bivariate tests, ordinal logistic, and binary logistic regression analyses. Other variables held constant, fear of crime was unrelated to the type of housing. Instead, fear of crime when home alone was associated with gender, years of schooling, social marginality levels, neighborhood fear of crime levels, and the opinion on the local police.